The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, January 27, 2005  

Tails of the Wagon

Almost seven years ago I moved from Washington, D.C., to New York, settling, despite my (far) better judgment but upon the insistence of my then partner, on the unbearably dowdy and generally useless Upper West Side of Manhattan.

There were, maybe, a few advatanges to this particular location, or at least one I can think of, namely, the proximity of our 30th-floor "penthouse" (Hey, it was on the top floor.) at West 70th Street and Amsterdam Avenue to Central Park, particularly the unauthorized "dog run" right there on the west side of the park between 69th and 68th Streets.

At the time, I owned two bulldogs, the well known, much beloved, and overly blogged Mildred, as well as the lesser known but no less loved Mona, a rescue bulldog, since departed, who will remain always close to our hearts.

Now, Mildred loved going to Central Park, as did Mona. Once we got there, Mildred enjoyed socializing with the other dogs in the forbidden play area. Mona, well, she wasn't so interested in the company. Mona always was a wanderer. If we didn't keep an eye on her, God knows where she would have found herself. True not only of New York, but also of the resort areas of upstate New York where we visited my siblings.

The walk back home, from Central Park to (the creepy place at) West 70th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, was a chore. No sweat for Mona, who without supervision gladly would have trekked north as far as Columbia University or as far south as Rockefeller Center, but a big deal for Mildred.

What to do? Hmmm . . . Buy a wagon? Maybe one of those old-fashioned red wagons? Maybe an old-fashioned red wagon with the wooden slats along all sides to keep the precious cargo in place?

Aspiring to Mildredom

Sounded great to me. He who must not be named (my ex) bought it. I, of course, put it together. And on the first planned ride back from Central Park, Mildred, the bulldog most in need of the wagon's assistance, stepped back, far back, and away from the beautiful new wagon because, I think, the wagon made too much noise, while Mona, who had no cognizance of distance whatsoever, hopped in and rode it home like Cleopatra. With Mildred not riding, and Mona looking out with a superior, "Yeah, I'm cool" attitude, we continued our practice of stopping every half-block, west-bound, from Central Park West to Amsterdam Avenue, to allow Mildred to catch her breath, take a few sips of water, and, if at all possible, perhaps nibble a banana.

Things got better after the ex, at the time the then-suddenly ex, started spending my money on himself. I moved downtown and, as a consequence, Mildred wasn't forced urged to venture into Central Park. Instead, Mildred sort of just hung around Chelsea, hobnobbing with her new around-the-corner friends on 18th Street, including, now and then, the Wegman Weimeraners.

Okay, so sort of.

No matter how beautiful your dog, and Mildred is just gorgeous, the most you will get from William Wegman, no matter how many times you meet him and his over-photographed meal tickets on the streets, is a slight nod.

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